The six-month jail term sentence handed down by the High Court to Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M.V. Jayarajan in a contempt case has evoked mixed response. While CPI(M) leaders said the party would take the legal course of action against the contempt proceedings, opponents of the CPI(M) viewed the verdict as a clear message to those who cast aspersions on judges.

The High Court verdict comes after legal proceedings were initiated by the court against Mr. Jayarajan for making allegedly derogatory remarks about judges at a public speech here on June 26 last. Senior party leaders said this was not the first time that a party leader was at the receiving end of contempt proceedings initiated by the court and that the party would take appropriate steps to appeal against the High Court verdict.

What had landed Mr. Jayarajan in trouble was his use of Malayalam words ‘shumbhanmar' (fool, idiot, dunce) and ‘pulluvila' (of little value) and other usages in his remarks against the judges of the High Court during a public speech here on June 26, 2010. Mr. Jayarajan had made the remarks while speaking against the High Court verdict banning roadside meetings. The court took those remarks has having been made to humiliate and lower its authority in the eye of the public.

Leaders of political parties opposed to the CPI(M) said the verdict was a warning to those who tended to resort to tongue-lashing in their remarks against courts and judges in response to judgments.. Such leaders would restrain themselves from making any derogatory remarks against the courts and judges, they hoped.

Mr. Jayarajan had recently found himself charged with abetment of offence under IPC sections 116 and 117 by the Town Police for his alleged speech on October 19 at a function held by the Students

Federation of India (SFI) in which he had reportedly said that the police officer who had opened fire at the protesting SFI workers in Kozhikode should be ‘physically manhandled' when he was not in uniform. His senior party colleague T. Sivadasa Menon in his speech at another function of the SFI in Thalassery a few days later had said that the police officer could be physically manhandled even if he was in the police uniform.

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